Pastor's Corner

2020 11-29   The Season of Advent and “Rejoice in the Lord” Parish Mission

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

The Season of Advent is upon us.  Advent is a special time in the Church year as we prepare for the coming of the Lord.  Advent holds out the hope and desire to see the light of Christ shine through the darkness of our world.  Our Holy Father Pope Francis focused on the importance of hope during Advent.  He stated, “The Lord comes.  Here is the root of our hope: the assurance that the consolation of God reaches among the tribulations of the world, a consolation that is not made of words, but of presence, of His presence that comes among us.”

During this special time, we will sponsor our Advent Parish Mission, presented by Fr. Paul Dressler, a Franciscan priest; preacher, teacher, retreat master and convert to the Catholic faith.  During the Mission, Fr. Paul will focus on the desire to find joy during Advent in the midst of these difficult and uncertain times as we strive to deal primarily with the impact of the COVID-19 virus.

A Parish Mission provides us with an important and timely opportunity for spiritual healing and renewal.  With an emphasis on love and mercy, it also can provide an opportunity to change hearts and transform lives as we renew and strengthen our relationship with Our Lord.

The following “Parish Mission Prayer” provided by the media outlet “The Reason For Our Hope” asks God to bless us with a Mission that will bear much fruit.

Holy Father, great God of love and mercy, You have surrendered everything for love of us.
May we learn to surrender everything for love of You.
Fill us with Your Holy Spirit that we may do Your will and not our own.
Help us to love You above all things and to love Your people the way You have commanded us.
Quiet our minds and hearts that we may be open to the gift of Your truth, and grant our Parish Mission may be:
a time of Grace for all, a time of growth for the young,
a time of refreshment for the old, a time of renewal for families,
a time of healing for the broken, a time of joy for the sorrowing,
a time of challenge for the complacent, a time of forgiveness for the sinner,
a time of strength for the holy, a time of homecoming for all who have been away.
We beg You these things, Holy Father, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

The Parish Mission will take place this Monday, November 30h to Wednesday, December 2nd.  Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions,    Fr. Paul will present the Mission virtually.  Plan to view his presentation on our parish website in video format. (or visit www.saintbrigid.org/adventmission)

I pray that you will participate in the Parish Mission and avail yourself of this special time of grace.  We invite you to attend to this Mission.  Please invite your loved ones and friends, especially those Catholics who may have been away from the Church for some time and some reason.  Through God’s grace, you may be instrumental in getting your loved ones and friends to return to the precious faith we love and cherish.

 

 

 

2020 12-6   Our Advent Journey Continues With Mary.. The Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe
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2020 11-22   We Pray That Thanksgiving Day Will Truly Be a Time to Thank God for Prayers Answered and Blessings Received.
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2020 11-15   Pray for Our Confirmation Candidates, their Coordinators and Sponsors

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Next Saturday Bishop Shlesinger will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to approximately 165 of our teens.  As previously mentioned, Confirmation along with Baptism and the Holy Eucharist comprise the Sacraments of Christian Initiation.  Our Catechism reminds the faithful of the need for proper preparation for the Sacrament.  It states, “Preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and a more lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit – his actions, his gifts, and responsibilities of Christian life.  To this end, catechesis for Confirmation should strive to awaken a sense of belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ, the universal Church as well as the parish community.”

Those who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation on Saturday have spent much time in instruction, reflection, and prayer.  Their preparation also included time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and a spiritual retreat.  As we know all too well, we are living in difficult and uncertain times due primarily to the impact of the COVID-19 virus.  Therefore, our candidates for Confirmation, their coordinators, and sponsors had to adapt to different approaches to preparation.  We appreciate their creativity and flexibility.

Pope Francis has often noted the importance of the Sacrament of Confirmation in the spiritual growth in the life of a Christian.  He has indicated that the Sacrament enhances our missionary zeal for our faith.  His sentiments are reflected in the “United States Catholic Catechism for Adults” which states, “Confirmation deepens our baptismal life that calls us to be missionary witnesses of Jesus Christ in our families, neighborhoods, society, and the world.  We receive the message of faith in a deeper and more intensive manner with great emphasis given to the person of Jesus Christ, who asked the Father to give the Holy Spirit to the Church for building up the community in living service.”   It further indicates, “In the Sacrament of Confirmation, the baptized person is ‘sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit’ and is strengthened for service to the Body of Christ.”

The media outlet “Catholic Online”, as part of its overview of the Sacrament, stated that Confirmation, “is administered by laying-on of hands and anointing with chrism accompanied by prayer.  The chrism is blessed by the bishop and the bishop administers the sacrament.  All baptized persons can and should be confirmed.”  As part of their preparation, candidates for Confirmation are asked to select the name of a saint as their Confirmation name.  The saint can serve as an example of Christian living.  Candidates also receive the spiritual guidance and dedicated support of a sponsor who walks with them on their Christian journey.

As we get ready to celebrate this great Sacrament, we are encouraged, as a community of faith, to continue to pray for our Confirmation candidates, their coordinators, and sponsors.

 

2020 11-22   We Pray That Thanksgiving Day Will Truly Be a Time to Thank God for Prayers Answered and Blessings Received.
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2020 11-08   Our Community Honors Veterans Day, We Must Always Appreciate Their Sacrifice
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2020 11-08   Our Community Honors Veterans Day, We Must Always Appreciate Their Sacrifice

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Wednesday on November 11th, as a nation we celebrate Veterans Day.  In a special way on this day, we are encouraged to honor our men and women who have served in the armed forces and sacrificed so much on behalf of our country.  Many of us have loved ones who now have Veteran status.  Through their unselfishness and dedication, they made it possible for us to enjoy the freedoms provided in our nation.  We should appreciate their sacrifice and service and never take them for granted.

As mentioned previously, the Johns Creek Veterans Association arranged for the construction of the Johns Creek Veterans Memorial Walk, located in Newtown Park.  The Walk serves as a vivid reminder of the contributions to the defense of our nation made by our men and women in the armed forces throughout the years.  Members of the Saint Brigid Knights of Columbus, many of whom are Veterans, assisted in the construction of the Walk.

We are also reminded that many of our recent Veterans continue to strive to adapt to civilian life.  Catholic Charities in Atlanta has made a concerted effort to assist Veterans to obtain adequate housing and has also provided needed spiritual, emotional, and financial support.  In addition, our Veterans Administration hospitals and treatment centers continue to strive to make necessary improvements in order to provide appropriate ongoing care for Veterans in need.

The following Veterans Day Prayer composed by Joanna Fuchs captures the essence of our appreciation for the sacrifice of our Veterans:

Dear Lord,
Today we honor our Veterans, worthy men and women who gave their best when they were called upon to serve and protect their country.
We pray that you will bless them, Lord, for their unselfish service in the continual struggle to preserve our freedoms, our safety, and our country’s heritage, for all of us.
Bless them abundantly for the hardships they faced, for the sacrifices they made for their many different contributions to America’s victories over tyranny and oppression.
We respect them, we thank them, we honor them, we are proud of them, and we pray that you will watch over these special people and bless them with peace and happiness.
In Jesus’ name we pray.   Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are encouraged to continue to honor our Veterans through our prayers and expressions of gratitude, always appreciating their commitment and sacrifice.

 

2020 11-15   Pray for Our Confirmation Candidates, their Coordinators and Sponsors
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2020 11-01   We Celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints and All Souls Day
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2020 11-01   We Celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints and All Souls Day

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate All Saints Day.  On this day, we remember those men and women who came before us marked with the sign of faith.  As Catholics, we are invited to follow the example of our great saints.  We can strive to model our behavior after them and follow their holy way of life.  We are challenged to learn from them and to learn more about them.  They can teach us so much about living, loving, and serving.

This Monday we commemorate All Souls Day.  It is a day to honor and pray for our deceased relatives, friends, neighbors, parishioners, co-workers, and all who shared their lives with us.  Commenting on this day, Pope Francis stated, “Sadness mixes with hope and this is what we all feel today in this celebration: the memory of our loved ones, … and hope.  But we also feel that this hope helps, because we, too, have to make a journey.  All of us will make this journey – sooner or later.  But with the flower of hope, with that strong thread of hope that is anchored in the hereafter.”   Our Holy Father encouraged us to attend Mass and receive the Eucharist on this day noting that it is the best spiritual gift that we can give to the souls who have gone before us.

This Thursday at 7 p.m., we will celebrate a Mass of Remembrance in the Church as we honor the memory of those loved ones who have died, including those who have died recently.  A litany of names and an offering of roses with appropriate lighting of candles will mark this special occasion.

As Catholics, we strive to honor our dead and to bring spiritual peace and consolation to families who grieve for their loved ones.  Grieving is part of our human condition and can help us on the path to healing.  I want to thank all those who give of their time to participate in our bereavement and grief caring ministries, and who do so much to assist families in their time of mourning and sorrow.  They truly are a blessing to our faith community.

As we reflect on our saints and deceased loved ones, we invite you to join us for our liturgies on All Saints Day and on All Souls Day, and at the Mass of Remembrance as we honor them in a special way.  Details concerning these liturgies can be found in the Parish bulletin and on the Parish website.

 

2020 11-08   Our Community Honors Veterans Day, We Must Always Appreciate Their Sacrifice
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2020 10-28   Spending Time Before the Blessed Sacrament, Before the Living God
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2020 10-28   Spending Time Before the Blessed Sacrament, Before the Living God

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Eucharistic Adoration has a significant impact on the spiritual vitality of our faith community and provides us with a great opportunity for prayer.  A Catholic priest and author, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, indicated that there are “four kinds of prayer most appropriate in the presence of the Eucharist, namely adoration and praise, thanksgiving, repentance, and trusting intercession.”
As previously noted, the publication, “Our Sunday Visitor”, described Eucharistic Adoration as “the act of worshiping God as He is present in the consecrated Eucharist.”  It stated, “Spending time before the Blessed Sacrament, in prayer and devotion, is exactly the same as spending time before the living God.”

Among the many ways we can participate in Eucharistic Adoration, the publication recommends the following:

– Meditate using Scripture: Choose a passage from the Bible, and let the passage speak to you.
– Read the life of a saint and pray with him or her: Many of our saints had a great devotion to Our Lord in the Eucharist.
– Pour your heart out to Christ and adore Him: Speak to Jesus and listen to His response.
– Ask for forgiveness and intercede for others: Ask God to forgive you for all the times you have neglected or hurt someone else. Bring before the Blessed Sacrament all those who have asked you to pray for them.
– Sit quietly and just “be” in the presence of God.

The following “Adoration Prayer” from “Catholic Online” reflects the spirit of Eucharistic Adoration.  We invite you to prayerfully consider serving as a guardian at Eucharistic Adoration, and spend an hour each week in the presence of Our Lord.  Guardians at Saint Brigid are needed at specific times during the day, and especially at certain nocturnal hours.  Please check the parish website at www.saintbrigid.org/adoration for details.

My Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that You are really present here in this Sacrament.
Night and day You remain here compassionate and loving.
You call, You wait for, You welcome everyone who comes to visit You.
I thank You, Jesus my Divine Redeemer for coming upon the earth for my sake
And for instituting the Adorable Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in order to remain with us until the end of the world.
I thank you for hiding beneath the Eucharistic species Your infinite majesty and beauty, which Your Angels delight to behold so that I might have courage to approach the throne of Your mercy.
I thank you, dear Jesus, for having become the priceless victim, to merit for me the fullness of heavenly favors.
Awaken in me such confidence in You that their fullness may descend ever more fruitfully upon my soul.
I thank You for offering Yourself in thanksgiving to God for all His benefits, spiritual and temporal which He has bestowed on me.
Grant me grace and perseverance in your faithful service. Amen.

2020 11-01   We Celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints and All Souls Day
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2020 10-18   World Mission Sunday
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2020 10-18   World Mission Sunday

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday is World Mission Sunday.  Pope Francis, in his message for this day, stated, “Mission is a free and conscious response to God’s call.  Yet we discern this call when we have a personal relationship of   love with Jesus present in His Church.”  Our Holy Father asked, “Are we willing to be sent forth at any time or place to witness to our faith in God the merciful Father, to proclaim the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ, to share the divine life of the Holy Spirit by building up the Church?”

Pope Francis also challenged us to focus on the mission of the Church in these difficult and uncertain times.  He stated, “Understanding what God is saying to us at this time of pandemic also represents a challenge for the Church’s mission.”  He further indicated that “Being forced to observe social distancing and to stay at home invites us to rediscover that we need social relationships as well as our communal relationship with God.  Far from increasing mistrust and indifference, the situation should make us even more attentive to our way of relating to others.”  Pope Francis reminded us that, “The celebration of World Mission Day is also an occasion for reaffirming how prayer, reflection and the material help of your offerings are so many opportunities to participate actively in the mission of Jesus in his Church.”

As reported by the Diocese of Fort Worth, “This year’s theme is ‘Here I Am, Send Me.’  Every parish in the world can participate, united, in this special Eucharistic celebration.  Every parishioner is a missionary, sharing our love for Christ’s Gospel with one another, supporting the Church most in need.”

In this election season, we can also foster and enhance the mission of the Church by exercising our right to vote.  Therefore, our bishops invite us to properly form our consciences and take an active role in the election process.

The following MISSION PRAYER from the media outlet “Images of Prayer for World Mission Sunday 2020” reflects the spirit of this day:

 

Lord, our God, help us to walk with You on the pathway to the beatitudes and to live out Your mission in today’s world.

Bind us to all men and women of our time, so that together we may bring the good news to the ends of the Earth.

Open our hearts and our Christian communities to the needy, the afflicted, the oppressed.

May we radiate the living Christ and transform our lives in the hope of the resurrection.

This prayer we make to you who is the living God, now and forever.  Amen. 

 

2020 10-28   Spending Time Before the Blessed Sacrament, Before the Living God
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2020 10-10   Archdiocese of Atlanta Faithful Citizenship message
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2020 10-04   Respect Life Sunday

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

 This Sunday we celebrate Respect Life Sunday.  We are invited to proclaim in a public way our appreciation for the precious gift of life.  There will be a series of “Life Chains” which will be conducted throughout the nation on this day.  We are welcomed to participate in the one that will be held between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Old Alabama Road in an area which will include the space in front of our Church.  The “Life Chain” will be a peaceful, public, and prayerful witness concerning the dignity of all life, especially the lives of the unborn.  We will pray for our nation and its people and we will be exercising our responsibility to speak out on behalf of the value of life.  Members of the Knights of Columbus will be available to assist us as we strive to maintain social distancing and appropriate protocols in these difficult and uncertain times.

As reported by Marie Smith in the publication “National Right to Life News”, Pope Francis emphasized the need to protect unborn children, calling abortion a grave problem that undermines the foundation for “the building of justice, compromising the correct solution of any other human and social issue.”  He addressed the “primary value of human life” and the “absolute duty to defend it, from conception to its natural end.”  Our Holy Father reminded the faithful that the taking of preborn life betrays the “pact that binds the generations among themselves, a pact that enables us to look ahead with hope.  Where there is life, there is hope.”

The following prayer for life provided by “Catholics Online” reflects the respect for life which we all should embrace.

As we reflect on this prayer, and on the profound words of Our Holy Father, we are challenged to commit ourselves publicly to the protection of all human life.   If we cannot participate in the “Life Chain” this Sunday, we are invited to speak for the most vulnerable in prayer in the silence of our hearts.

 

God our Creator, we give thanks to You, who alone have the power to impart the breath of life as You form each of us in our mother’s womb;
Grant, we pray, that we whom You have made stewards of creation, may remain faithful to the sacred trust and constant in safeguarding the dignity of every human life.
Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

Please continue to pray for our Holy Father and our bishops, and for a strengthening of a culture of life in our nation and in our world. 

 

2020 10-10   Archdiocese of Atlanta Faithful Citizenship message
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2020 09-27   Priesthood Sunday
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2020 09-27   Priesthood Sunday

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday in the United States we celebrate Priesthood Sunday.  It is a special day set aside to honor the priesthood and is celebrated this year on the last Sunday in September.  The day is coordinated by the USA Council of Serra International.  It is a day to reflect upon and affirm the role of the priesthood in the life of the Church as we strive to raise vocation awareness in a special way.

Reflecting on the call to the priesthood, Pope Francis stated, “Jesus is the one who calls, …….        …… not the priest, nor the bishop or the Pope.  It is Jesus who gazes at him with love, who shows him the people, who shows him the needs of the people of God and says ‘if you wish, come help.’”  However, the Pope, bishops, and priests and laity, through their prayers, counsel and example, can be of great assistance in helping one discern the call.

The following “Prayer for Priests” by Pope Benedict XVI, asks Our Lord to guide His priests as they minister to the people of God.  As we reflect on this prayer, and as we celebrate this day, I am reminded that it is a great privilege and responsibility to be a priest, and I thank God each day for the gift of my vocation.  As priests, we are challenged to go forth with a renewed appreciation for Jesus and His ministry.  We are called to be truly willing to serve Our Lord, the Church and its people.

 

On behalf of Fr. Michael, Fr. Bill, Fr. Cristian and all the priests who assist us in some way at Saint Brigid, I thank you for your continued prayers and support.     

2020 10-04   Respect Life Sunday
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2020 09-20   During These Uncertain Times, Let Us Not Forget Our Military and Chaplains Who Serve Us
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2020 09-13  Remembering Sept. 11, 2001, Patriots Day Mass

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

As we know, we are still in the midst of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 virus.  The fabric of our country and our world has changed dramatically in these last few months. While preoccupied with the impact of this virus, many paused recently to focus on the events of September 11, 2001.

This past Friday marked the nineteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of “9/11”.  We as a nation recalled the tragic deaths and injuries that occurred at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and on the fields of Somerset, Pennsylvania.  As a faith community, we celebrated a special Mass for Peace at Saint Brigid.  The Mass helped us to remember not only the events of that fateful day but also served to remind us of the dangers that continue to confront us.

Commenting on this tragedy, as previously noted, the United States Bishops stated, “After September 11, we are a wounded people.  We share loss and pain, anger and fear, shock, and determination in the face of these attacks on our nation and our humanity.  We also honor the selflessness of firefighters, police, chaplains, and other braves individuals who gave their lives in the service of others.  They are true heroes and heroines.”

As a way to focus on the events of that day and its aftermath, we are invited to reflect on following “9-11” PRAYER” by David Bennet provided by the publication “TheChurchYear.Net”.  The publication stated that the terrorist attacks of “9/11” “deeply impacted the United States of America, and the entire world, changing the course of modern history.  This prayer focuses on the souls of those who were killed in the attack, and for the conversion of the hearts of anyone who wishes violence and harm on innocent people.”

Father, on this anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, we pray that You comfort all those still suffering from this terrible tragedy.

We pray for the souls of all those who lost their lives in this, and all, terrorist attacks.

And, may all those consumed by hatred of others, be touched by Your divine love.

We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are invited to continue to ask for the special intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of Peace.  We are also encouraged to continue to remember in a special way the first responders and all those who suffered in some way on that fateful day of September 11, 2001.

 

2020 09-20   During These Uncertain Times, Let Us Not Forget Our Military and Chaplains Who Serve Us
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2020 09-06  Honor for Those Who Labor in the Spirit of Jesus and Joseph
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2020 09-06  Honor for Those Who Labor in the Spirit of Jesus and Joseph

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Monday, as a nation, we celebrate Labor Day.  On this day, we honor all those who labor for a living.  We thank them for their service to their families, and for their service to all those who benefit from their efforts.  As we know, prayer and work go hand in hand.  Therefore, we are invited to pray in a special way for all laborers and for those who are now retired after many years of labor.  We also pray for the unemployed and underemployed, especially those impacted by the COVID-19 virus in these difficult and uncertain economic times.

Pope Francis has a great appreciation for the fundamental dignity of the human person, and he has indicated that human labor is integral to this dignity.  As reported in the Catholic publication “CRUX”, Pope Francis, in a homily earlier this year on the feast of St. Joseph the Worker stated, “Work is what makes the person similar to God because with work one is a creator, is capable of creating, of creating many things, including creating a family to keep going.  And this gives dignity to the human person.  The dignity that makes one resemble God.  The dignity of labor.”  He prayed that no one would be lacking a job and “that all would be paid justly and may enjoy the dignity of work and the beauty of rest.”  He also reminded the faithful that, “Human work is the vocation received from God.”

As we reflect on these words of Our Holy Father, and as we celebrate this day, we are invited to make it more than a day of rest and recreation.  It should also be a day of prayer as we honor those who embrace the human experience and who labor in the spirit of Jesus and Joseph.  The following Labor Day Prayer provided by the Missionary Society of St. Columban reflects the spirit of this day:

Heavenly Father, on this Labor Day, we thank you for the talents you have bestowed upon us
and for the gift to share them through work.
Smile upon those who are unemployed or underemployed.
Provide guidance and encouragement for all those seeking employment.
Grant that they may find meaningful, rewarding work.
Be with those who work tirelessly for the good of all.
Protect them and grant them peace in their endeavors.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit now and forever.  Amen.

2020 09-13  Remembering Sept. 11, 2001, Patriots Day Mass
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2020 08-30   Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
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2020 08-30   Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Our election season is upon us, and Catholics are urged to embrace the opportunity to vote.  Pope Francis has addressed the issue of voting.  He stated, “We need to participate for the common good.  Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics.  This is not true:  good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern.”

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued and updated a document called, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.”  The bishops have encouraged us to take our voting obligation seriously.  They said, “We bishops seek to help Catholics form their consciences in accordance with the truth, so they can make sound moral choices.  We do not tell Catholics how to vote.  The responsibility to make political choices rests with each person and his or her conscience.”

The bishops have stated that “In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.  As Catholics, we should be guided more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to a political party or interest group.  In today’s environment, Catholics may feel politically disenfranchised, sensing that no party and few candidates fully share our comprehensive commitment to human life and dignity.”

At their meeting earlier this year, the bishops affirmed the fundamental dignity of the human person.  They stated that human life is sacred and that intrinsically evil actions such as abortion and euthanasia must always be opposed.  The gift of life is the foundation upon which rests all the other marvelous gifts that God has given us.  We are challenged to prayerfully consider the guidance of our bishops as we form our consciences.

To this end, we plan to conduct a series of conferences on “Catholic Morality and Voting” to be coordinated by Deacon Henry Hein.  The focus will be on the review of the document

“Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” 

Topics will include the following seven key themes of Catholic social teaching which provide a moral framework for decisions in public life:

  • The Right to Life and the Dignity of the Human Person
  • Call to Family, Community, and Participation
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
  • Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
  • Solidarity
  • Caring for God’s Creation

Details concerning the conferences will be forthcoming.

As we know, we live in an imperfect world and we are dealing with imperfect candidates.  Our bishops invite us to properly form our consciences and to vote for those candidates whose views we believe best reflect Catholic teaching.  We invite you to participate in our conferences and respond to the call of our bishops to embrace our moral obligation to engage in our political process.                                                                                 

2020 09-06  Honor for Those Who Labor in the Spirit of Jesus and Joseph
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2020 08-23   Welcome our New Parochial Vicar, Fr. Cristian Cossio
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2020 08-23   Welcome our New Parochial Vicar, Fr. Cristian Cossio

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Fr. Cristian Cossio recently has been assigned by the Archdiocese of Atlanta to Saint Brigid parish.  He will serve as a parochial vicar along with Fr. Michael and Fr. Bill.  Fr. Cristian is a newly ordained priest, originally from Colombia, and has been in the United States since 2014.  He said his family has always been very supportive as he discerned his priestly vocation.

We have been asked to assist Fr. Cristian in his transition into pastoral ministry.  As we know, Fr. Michael has recently transitioned into pastoral ministry here at Saint Brigid, and should be of great help to Fr. Cristian in his first few months as a parochial vicar.

Fr. Cristian received his seminary training and formation at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida.  The Seminary was established to form men for the diocesan and religious priesthood for the Catholic Church in North America, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.  During his seminary training, in addition to his rigorous studies, he participated in a program for hospital ministry.  Prior to his seminary studies, he worked in faith formation at a parish.

He is excited to begin his ministry as a priest in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.   Please welcome Fr. Cristian to our faith community.

    Published July 9, 2020, Georgia Bulletin;   Meet Fr.  Cristian Miguel Cossio

Birthplace: Colombia, South America

 What were you doing before seminary? 
“Before seminary, I completed high school in Colombia. After a couple of years, I took a break and worked as the faith formation coordinator at a local parish.”

 When did you first think about priesthood? 
“Towards the end of high school, while attending the youth group.”

 What pastoral learning experience made the greatest impact on you? 
“During my spiritual program ministry in a hospital in St. Paul Minnesota, I had the opportunity to serve and accompany the patients and their families, while also learning to better serve those who come and work at the hospital. This was one of the best experiences because it allowed me to serve while learning.”

What excites you most about becoming a priest?
 “Being able to accompany people at different stages in life, while serving as a bridge between people and God.”

How was your life impacted during the coronavirus lockdown?
 “What has impacted me the most is the desire of people to receive the Eucharist and at the same time, the increase of house churches where people practiced their faith. I have missed the community the most. Liturgy and catechesis feel uncanny without them.”

Read more about Fr. Cristian discernment at:  Fr. Cristian Cossia-  article St. Vincent Seminary 2017

 

2020 08-30   Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
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2020 08-16  Children’s Liturgy of the Word- Immerse your Children to the Word of God
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2020 08-16  Children’s Liturgy of the Word- Immerse your Children to the Word of God

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Our Catechism teaches that parents are the primary educators of their children in the ways of faith. As reported in the publication the “National Catholic Register”, Pope Francis, in one of his weekly general audiences, stated that the Church and all Christian communities are called to accompany and support parents in their educative role.

One way we assist parents in educating their children at Saint Brigid is through our “Children’s Liturgy of the Word (CLOW)” Ministry.  As explained in our Parish School of Religion guidelines, the “CLOW ministry enables children to participate in the formal worship experience, to nourish and guide their spiritual growth and to immerse them in the Word of God in ways that are understandable to them.”

Children are encouraged to attend Mass with their parents, and then, “The children are dismissed from Mass during the Liturgy of the Word.  They are escorted to the chapel and assisted by volunteer shepherds.  They will hear the Word from the Children’s Lectionary.  The leader guides the children to an understanding of the Gospel that they can embrace.  The children will return to their parents at the offertory.”

The guidelines also states that “All the elements that help to explain the readings are given great consideration so that the children may make the bible readings their own and may come more and more to appreciate the value of God’s word.”

CLOW is offered during the school year at the 5 pm Saturday Vigil Mass, and at the 9 am and 11 am Sunday Masses.  All children, ages 4 years old through First Grade, are welcome to participate.  There is no registration necessary.

With the onset of the Covid-19 virus, the above format was replaced in March with “on-line” teaching sessions coordinated by Mr. Mark Halaszynski for the remainder of the school year.  These sessions were well received by both parents and children.  We hope to resume “in-person” sessions in the Fall as soon as Archdiocesan guidelines permit.  The media outlet “Share Catholic” provided the following “A Prayer for Children”, reminding us that our children are gifts from God and that we have a responsibility to care for and nurture them.

God our Father, You have blessed us with the gift of children;
thank You for these precious gems which adorn our house.
Their laughter gives us joy and brightens our lives.
They are expressions of your presence in our home.
Their growth shows the mysteries of Your love.
May they experience Your loving presence, advance in wisdom and grow in Your love.
Our children’s future is in Your hands,
and yet we have our own role to play in shaping that future.
Help us to be true to our responsibility so that we may assist them
in responding to Your graces and thus to become what we want them to be.
Amen.

We thank our CLOW coordinators Barbara Kratz and Kathryn Halaszynski and their staff for all they do to assist our children as they grow in their knowledge and understanding of the faith.

2020 08-23   Welcome our New Parochial Vicar, Fr. Cristian Cossio
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2020 08-09   “We Are Blessed to Have Many Faithful, Dedicated, and Holy Deacons to Serve Us At Saint Brigid.
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2020 08-02   We Cannot Afford to Become Indifferent to the Plight of Persecuted Christians Throughout the World

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

As we strive to deal with the devastating impact of the COVID-19 virus and the recent civil unrest in our nation, we may tend to forget that violence continues to be rampant in the Middle East.  Many people, especially Christians, have been singled out for persecution.  Many have been victims of planned acts of terror.

Our Holy Father Pope Francis continues to condemn the persecution of Christians and speak eloquently against the callous disregard for human life.  He recently reminded us that we cannot afford to become insensitive or indifferent to the plight of persecuted Christians throughout the world.  In a real sense, they are our brothers and sisters and they continue to suffer.   He stated, “It is painful to remember that at this moment, there are many Christians who suffer persecution in various areas of the world, and we must hope and pray their tribulation will be stopped as soon as possible.”  He also reminded us that, “today’s martyrs are more numerous than the martyrs of the first centuries,” and “these Christians are the bleeding members of the body of Christ, which is the Church.”

As reported in the publication, “The Guardian”, vicious attacks continue to be perpetrated on Christians and Christian Churches, especially in the Middle East.  The population of Christians in the Middle East has decreased from twenty percent to five percent, and there is a religious hatred that is still pervasive.

Monsignor Richard Lopez, a priest in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, travels extensively and speaks passionately about the suffering of Christians.  He challenges the faithful to identify with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted, primarily in the Middle East.  He has asked us to remember in prayer those Christians who are victims of senseless violence.

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, the Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, has echoed the call of Pope Francis and Monsignor Lopez and has asked us to support our brothers and sisters who continue to suffer for their faith.  The following prayer was composed by Archbishop Lori to increase awareness of persecuted Christians in the Middle East and around the world:

 O God of all the nations, the one God who is and was and always will be,

In your providence, you willed that your church be united in the suffering of Your son,

Look with mercy on Your servants who are persecuted for their faith in You.

Grant them perseverance and courage to be worthy imitators of Christ.

Bring your wisdom upon leaders of nations to work for peace among all peoples.

May your Spirit open conversion for those who contradict Your will, that we may live in harmony.

Give us the grace to be united in truth and freedom, and to always seek Your will in our lives.

Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us.

 

2020 08-09   “We Are Blessed to Have Many Faithful, Dedicated, and Holy Deacons to Serve Us At Saint Brigid.
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2020 07-26   Reminder of our Call to Live a Life of Love and Service
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2020 07-26   Reminder of our Call to Live a Life of Love and Service

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

At this time, we are in the midst of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal for 2020.  The Archdiocese has recently sent reminder notices urging parishioners to support the Appeal., and Bishop Joel Konzen has spoken about the importance of the Appeal.  He stated, “The theme of our 2020 Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, ‘You are the Light of the World’, reminds us of our call to live a life of love and service, brightly shining God’s grace for all to see.”  He also noted, “We are vibrant, diverse, and dedicated to serving the needs of our faithful and spreading the Good News.  Your contributions to the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal help to make that possible.”

Our contributions to the Appeal provide funds that go directly to the training and support of future happy, holy, and healthy priests needed to serve the Church of tomorrow.  The Appeal also supports our diaconate program, Catholic Charities, and many other Archdiocesan pastoral outreach, education, and formation programs that serve our parish as well as our larger Church family.  In addition, the Appeal also provides needed financial support for our priests in retirement who have served the people of this Archdiocese so faithfully over the years.

A substantial portion of the Appeal provides for the funding of our Archdiocese Vocation program.  Through your generosity, Saint Brigid benefits directly from the Appeal because, at this time, we are blessed to have parishioner and recently ordained Deacon, Robbie Cotta, currently attending seminary and studying for the priesthood.  God willing, he will be ordained a priest next year.

At Saint Brigid, we strive as a community to assist seminarians as they discern a vocation to the priesthood, and as they continue their training and formation.  Seminarian Jacob Butz was assigned to parish ministry at Saint Brigid this summer.  He assisted primarily at our liturgies and also with our Adult Education, Youth, and Confirmation programs.  As a faith community, we also continue to assist Fr. Tri through our prayers and financial support as he provides guidance to our seminarians in his role as Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

As we can see, our prayers and financial support of the Annual Appeal are clearly bearing fruit.  We ask for your continued support.  If you have already given via the mail or online, we thank you.  If you have not yet given to the Annual Appeal, we ask you to prayerfully consider doing so.  Additional information about the Appeal can be obtained from the parish office or from the parish website.

Bishop Konzen has asked us to generously and sacrificially support the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal.  We clearly realize that there may be limitations to your generosity in these difficult and uncertain times due primarily to the impact of the Covid-19 virus, but we ask you to assist us to the extent possible.  Thank you for all you do to enhance the spiritual vitality of our faith community.

 

 

2020 08-02   We Cannot Afford to Become Indifferent to the Plight of Persecuted Christians Throughout the World
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2020 07-19  Our Children and the Celebration of the Great Gift of the Eucharist
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2020 07-19  Our Children and the Celebration of the Great Gift of the Eucharist

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

In the last few weeks, at various scheduled times, many of the children in our faith community have made their First Holy Communion at Saint Brigid.  Their parents and other loved ones presented them to share with us in the fullness of the Lord’s Supper for the first time and watched proudly as these children, with great devotion, took this important step on their journey of faith.

As Catholics, we are called to focus on our devotion to the Eucharist.  This devotion was certainly shared by Saint Pope John Paul II.  Shortly before his death, as he celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Pope John Paul stated that a love for the Eucharist helps to create saints and awareness of vocations.  We witness this love for the Eucharist and awareness of vocations bearing fruit in our faith community.  This year, one of Saint Brigid parishioners, Robbie Cotta, was ordained a Deacon for the Archdiocese of Atlanta by Archbishop Hartmayer.  Robbie is a transitional deacon, and God willing, will be ordained a priest next year.  Please keep Robbie in your prayers as he continues his journey to the priesthood.

As we celebrate the First Holy Communion of these children, and Robbie’s ordination, we are reminded that we as Catholics are blessed to have high regard for the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith.  We are invited to bond with each other by nourishing together on the Bread of Life in the Eucharist, and then by going forth in loving service of our brothers and sisters, especially our brothers and sisters in need.

My Communion Prayer”, author Sr. Janet Schaeffler, O.P., provided by the publication “Our Sunday Visitor”, invites us to ask Our Father for guidance.

Dear God,
I know that You give me many gifts. The gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ in Holy Communion is the greatest of all. How can I ever thank You enough for this special gift?
At Mass, we are called to be like Jesus, by loving and serving one another in the world.
As I become more like Him, please continue to help me. Show me the places and ways that I can bring Your love, kindness, and peace to others…
in my family,
in my neighborhood,
in my community,
with my friends.
I ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are reminded that the word “Eucharist” means “giving thanks.”  And today we can once again thank the Lord for the great gift of the Eucharist, for our wonderful children, and for our vibrant faith community of Saint Brigid.

2020 07-26   Reminder of our Call to Live a Life of Love and Service
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2020 07-19   Vocations and First Holy Communion
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2020 07-19   Vocations and First Holy Communion

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

In the last few weeks, at various scheduled times, many of the children in our faith community have made their First Holy Communion at Saint Brigid.  Their parents and other loved ones presented them to share with us in the fullness of the Lord’s Supper for the first time and watched proudly as these children, with great devotion, took this important step on their journey of faith.

As Catholics, we are called to focus on our devotion to the Eucharist.  This devotion was certainly shared by Saint Pope John Paul II.  Shortly before his death, as he celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Pope John Paul stated that a love for the Eucharist helps to create saints and awareness of vocations.  We witness this love for the Eucharist and awareness of vocations bearing fruit in our faith community.  This year, one of Saint Brigid parishioners, Robbie Cotta, was ordained a Deacon for the Archdiocese of Atlanta by Archbishop Hartmayer.  Robbie is a transitional deacon, and God willing, will be ordained a priest next year.  Please keep Robbie in your prayers as he continues his journey to the priesthood.

As we celebrate the First Holy Communion of these children, and Robbie’s ordination, we are reminded that we as Catholics are blessed to have high regard for the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith.  We are invited to bond with each other by nourishing together on the Bread of Life in the Eucharist, and then by going forth in loving service of our brothers and sisters, especially our brothers and sisters in need.

My Communion Prayer”, author Sr. Janet Schaeffler, O.P., provided by the publication “Our Sunday Visitor”, invites us to ask Our Father for guidance.

Dear God,
I know that You give me many gifts. The gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ in Holy Communion is the greatest of all. How can I ever thank You enough for this special gift?
At Mass we are called to be like Jesus, by loving and serving one another in the world.
As I become more like Him, please continue to help me. Show me the places and ways that I can bring Your love, kindness, and peace to others…
– in my family,
– in my neighborhood,
– in my community,
– with my friends.
I ask this in Jesus’ name.   Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are reminded that the word “Eucharist” means “giving thanks.”  And today we can once again thank the Lord for the great gift of the Eucharist, for our wonderful children, and for our vibrant faith community of Saint Brigid.

2020 07-19  Our Children and the Celebration of the Great Gift of the Eucharist
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2020 07-12   Our Local SVdP Society Works Quietly and Effectively for Those in Need of Our Community
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2020 07-12   Our Local SVdP Society Works Quietly and Effectively for Those in Need of Our Community

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Here at Saint Brigid, our local Saint Vincent de Paul Society Conference works quietly and effectively to help those in need in our local community. The need for assistance has increased dramatically in the Atlanta area at this time due primarily to the impact of the COVID-19 virus. Some people have lost their jobs, while others suffer in various ways. Their need for assistance is very real and, in some instances, immediate.

Charity is at the heart of the mission of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society. As mentioned previously, Saint Leo the Great is quoted as saying that “any time is the right time for charity. Where God finds charity with its loving concern, there He recognizes the reflection of His own Fatherly care.” This call for charity is also reflected in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah as the Lord states, “Share your bread with the hungry. Shelter the oppressed and the homeless. Clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own.”

Our Conference has a team of trained caseworkers who carefully evaluate the needs of those who seek assistance. It seeks to help those in need to regain spiritual, financial or emotional stability. While doing proper “due diligence” in attempting to evaluate true needs, it is always striving to act in a spirit of charity.

The following prayer from NovenaPrayer.com reflects the essence of the ministry and mission of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society as it seeks the guidance and intercession of St. Vincent:

Saint Vincent, the patron of all charitable associations and father of those who are in misery, come to our assistance.
Obtain from our Lord help for the poor, relief for the infirm, consolation for the afflicted, protection for the abandoned, a spirit of generosity for the rich, grace of conversion for sinners, zeal for priests, peace for the church, tranquility, and order for all nations, and salvation for them all.
May we be united in the life to come, by your intercession, and experience joy, goodness, and everlasting happiness.
Amen

As we reflect on this prayer, we are reminded once again that Jesus said that whatever we do to the least of His people, we do unto Him. At Saint Brigid, we are truly appreciative of the efforts of those in our faith community who work on behalf of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society. Through our prayers and support of the unselfish work of the Society, especially in these difficult and uncertain times, we can open our hearts and truly have a positive impact on the lives of those in our midst.

2020 07-19   Vocations and First Holy Communion
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2020 07-05   We Celebrate the Birth of Our Nation and Cherish Our Religious Freedoms
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2020 07-05   We Celebrate the Birth of Our Nation and Cherish Our Religious Freedoms

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Saturday on this weekend we celebrate the Fourth of July, Independence Day.  On this day, we remember and appreciate the birth of our nation.   As previously noted, Catholic author Norm Langenbrunner reminds us that Independence Day is also a time “…for remembering the courage and sacrifice of our nation’s founding generation, and succeeding generations who have imitated them.  From the Lincoln Memorial in DC to the sunken Arizona in Pearl Harbor, Americans pause to remember and many whisper a prayer of thankfulness.”

As we celebrate the birth of our nation, and as we reflect on these profound words, we also acknowledge how dramatically the fabric of our nation has changed in a few short months due primarily to the impact of the COVID-19 virus.  Our robust economy has been significantly curtailed, and certain businesses have been forced to close, causing many people to lose their jobs.  Even various government directives and guidelines concerning the temporary closing of businesses, churches, schools, parks and beaches may have caused us to reflect on the freedoms we may at times take for granted.

As Catholics, we are called to truly cherish in a very special way the many freedoms we enjoy in this country.  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops recently sponsored “Religious Freedom Week”.  They reminded us that there is a need to reaffirm our commitment to guard and protect our freedoms, especially our right to religious liberty.  There is also a need to strengthen the moral foundation of our country, a moral foundation based on faith and trust in the Lord.

As we celebrate Independence Day, we are invited to pray “A PRAYER ON INDEPENDENCE DAY” provided by the publication, “The Catholic Telegraph”:

Gracious and loving God, let Your spirit be with us today. 

Hear our prayers, and increase in us the will to follow Your son Jesus.

Help us to draw on the resources of our faith as we use the opportunities of our democracy to shape a society more respectful of the life, dignity, and rights of the human person, especially the poor and vulnerable.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.    Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we look forward to the time when our great nation will once again flourish, and we are encouraged to take time to thank God for the many freedoms we enjoy, and to reaffirm our commitment to protect and preserve those freedoms.

 

2020 07-12   Our Local SVdP Society Works Quietly and Effectively for Those in Need of Our Community
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2020 07-28   Vocation – A Response to the Lord’s Unmerited Call
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2020 07-28   Vocation – A Response to the Lord’s Unmerited Call

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Saturday, Archbishop Hartmayer ordained three men to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Atlanta at the Cathedral of Christ the King.  We thank these men for discerning and answering the call to serve, and we pray that Our Lord will bless them and guide them in their priestly ministry.  They are challenged to embrace this call to priestly service with love and joy.  These men are ordained at a time when there is much uncertainty and trial in our world due primarily to the impact of the COVID-19 virus.  We pray that they will be good shepherds for the people entrusted to their care.

The publication, “Catholic News Agency”, reported that in a recent address on the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis stated that vocational discernment is not simply “a decision we make as isolated individuals.  Vocation, more than our own choice, is a response to the Lord’s unmerited call.”  He indicated that priesthood requires, “courage and perseverance, and without prayer, one does not follow this path.  I invite everyone to ask the Lord for the gift of good workers for his kingdom who have their hearts and hands open to his love.”  He also stated, “Every vocation is born of that gaze of love with which the Lord came to meet us.  We will succeed in discovering and embracing our vocation once we open our hearts in gratitude and perceive the passage of God in our lives.”  Our Holy Father noted that the voice of God invites us to go “beyond ourselves to find true goodness and peace.”

The following prayer by Pope Francis, provided by “Vision Vocation Network” asks Our Lord for guidance in our vocational path:

LORD of the Harvest,

BLESS young people with the gift of courage to respond to your call.

Open their hearts to great ideals, to great things.

INSPIRE all of your disciples to mutual love and giving— for vocations blossom in the good soil of faithful people.

INSTILL those in religious life, parish ministries, and families with the confidence and grace to invite others to embrace the bold and noble path of a life consecrated to you.

UNITE us to Jesus through prayer and sacrament, so that we may cooperate with you in building your reign of mercy and truth, of justice and peace.     Amen.

                                    — Pope Francis

As a community of faith, as we reflect on this prayer, and on the words of Pope Francis, we are encouraged to continue to ask Our Lord for an abundance of holy, happy, and healthy priests, deacons and religious to guide the Church of tomorrow.

 

 

2020 07-05   We Celebrate the Birth of Our Nation and Cherish Our Religious Freedoms
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2020 06-21   Our Love for our Fathers Should Reflect the Love that God Has for All of Us.
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2020 06-21   Our Love for our Fathers Should Reflect the Love that God Has for All of Us.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Today we celebrate Father’s Day and we remember fathers in a special way.   As we know, Pope Francis has placed great emphasis and focus on fatherhood, reminding us that being a father is a great privilege and also a great responsibility.  Many of our parishioners are fathers, and they are challenged to set a good example for their children as they grow in wisdom and knowledge.

In one of his weekly addresses, on Father’s Day in Italy, as reported in the publication “Catholic News Service”, Pope Francis specifically addressed fathers, stating, “I ask that you have the grace to be very close to your children, letting them grow, but being by their side.  They need you, your presence, to be there, your love.”  He encouraged fathers to look to St. Joseph as their model, indicating that St. Joseph’s great mission is to be a guardian.  Our Holy Father noted, “Even though God was Jesus’ Father, St. Joseph lovingly took on the paternal role and taught the young Jesus various skills, the value of work, reverence for the Lord, and fidelity and obedience to God’s will.”

Pope Francis indicated that St. Joseph faced hardship, suffering, and trials during his journey of faith.  He encouraged the faithful to learn from St. Joseph that “only trust in God can turn doubt into certainty, evil into good, total darkness of the night into a radiant dawn.”  We are challenged to take these words to heart as we deal with many uncertainties and trials at this time due primarily to the impact of the COVID-19 virus.  Our Holy Father also called on us to honor our fathers, noting that our love for our fathers should reflect the love that God has for all of us.  One way we can honor our fathers is by assisting in their care in their later years, after the many years they have cared for us in so many different ways.

The following prayer from Jesuit Resources Online, Author Unknown,  calls upon our Heavenly Father to bless and guide all fathers:

Heavenly Father, you entrusted your Son Jesus, the child of Mary,

To the care of Joseph, an earthly father.

Bless all fathers as they care for their families.

Give them strength and wisdom, tenderness and patience;

Support them in the work they have to do,

Protect those who look to them, as we look to you for love and salvation,

Through Jesus Christ our rock and defender,

In union with the Holy Spirit, our God forever and ever.

St. Joseph, pray for all our fathers,  Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are invited to take time on this day to express our love and appreciation for our fathers and thank them for all that they do for us and for all that they mean to us.

 

2020 07-28   Vocation – A Response to the Lord’s Unmerited Call
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2020 06-14   A Prayer for National Healing
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2020 06-14   A Prayer for National Healing

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate the great solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.  We focus especially on this day on our devotion to the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith, a faith united and rooted in community.

However, this sense of communal unity is not reflected in our nation at the present time.  As we have seen from the recent tragic events in Minneapolis, and the resulting violence and civil unrest throughout our nation in recent weeks, there is still much work that needs to be done to bring unity, peace and healing to our nation.  We continue to be wounded and divided in many ways.  In a recent address, Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, called for healing and stated, “Today more than ever, we need a spirit of peacemaking and searching for nonviolent solutions to our problems.”  He also stated, “When God looks at us he sees beyond the color of our skin, or the countries where we came from, or the language that we speak.  God sees only his children – beloved sons and daughters.”  We are challenged to take these words to heart.

The need for healing is reflected in the following prayer.  The substance of this prayer has been composed by Texas Pastor Max Tyner, who addressed the pain and conflict which existed in our nation at a prior time.  It has been adapted and slightly modified to more closely reflect the recent tragic events in our nation.

 

A Prayer for National Healing

Gracious and Loving God, we come as your children with sorrow in our hearts, and lives which are confused and disturbed.  Recent weeks have brought death, anguish and distress to so many people. 

We pray, O Lord, that You will heal this nation.  Give peace and comfort to those who are in sorrow.  Give healing and strength to those who have suffered injury and hurt at this time.  Be with those who are working under such difficult circumstances.  Give wisdom and guidance to the president of this nation and be with the political leaders as they make grave decisions necessary at this time.

We ask, Lord, that you heal us, as a people, that we may join hands and work together for the good of all.  Grant us the wisdom and faith to see that only in You are true love and joy ever found.

Where we have wandered from Your will, put us back on the path You would have us follow.   Where we have bitterness and hate, give us love and consideration for others and from the ashes of hate and destruction, may we rise up as a nation committed to Your teachings and Your will and a light to the world.  This we ask in the name of Your son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Amen.

                               

 

2020 06-21   Our Love for our Fathers Should Reflect the Love that God Has for All of Us.
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2020 06-07   We Welcome Seminarian Jacob Butz, and Pray For Vocations
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2020 06-07   We Welcome Seminarian Jacob Butz, and Pray For Vocations

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

As a faith community, we strive to assist seminarians in the Archdiocese of Atlanta as they discern a vocation to the priesthood.  We also assist Fr. Tri as he provides guidance to our seminarians in his role as Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Atlanta.  This summer we welcome seminarian Jacob Butz to our faith community.  He will be assigned to the parish for the months of June and July and will assist at our liturgies, and will also participate primarily in our Youth Ministry, Confirmation, and Adult Education programs.  As we know, we are living in difficult and uncertain times due primarily to the impact of the coronavirus.  This situation has required us to make greater use of on-line technology in our approach to many of our ministries and programs.  Therefore, much of what Jacob will do will involve the use of this technology.

Pope Francis has a special place in his heart for seminarians.  In an address to seminarians, as reported in the publication “Vatican News”, he described the seminary as a place of growth.  He identified three areas of focus.  First, he said that seminarians must devote adequate commitment to spiritual formation, to be with the Lord, “to learn to listen to Him and contemplate His face.”  The second area is that of study, of sharing lessons of study with other seminarians, so that study is personal but not individual.  The third area is to accept the challenge to embrace a house of communion which takes the form of “presbyterial communion around the guidance of the bishop.”

The following prayer asks the Lord to guide our seminarians:

Oh God, hear our prayer for the men you have chosen to follow in Your Son’s footsteps.

Teach them humility and fidelity to unselfishly help others.

May their devotion to our Blessed Mother, Queen of Vocations, increase, enabling them to do Your will.

Strengthen their prayer life that they may grow spiritually without worldly distractions.

Give them courage and perseverance in their studies.

May the Holy Spirit lighten their struggles with their vocations, until they know the joy of being a priest.

We ask this through Christ Your Son.   Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, and on the words of Our Holy Father, I invite you to pray for Jacob and all seminarians, and also to pray to the Lord for an abundance of happy, healthy, and holy priests to guide and shepherd the Church of tomorrow.

2020 06-14   A Prayer for National Healing
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2020 05-31   We are Challenged to Allow the Holy Spirit to Come into Our Minds, and into Our Lives, and into Our Hearts
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2020 05-31   We are Challenged to Allow the Holy Spirit to Come into Our Minds, and into Our Lives, and into Our Hearts

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost. On this day, we see the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus to send the Holy Spirit upon his Apostles. And as we know, the Holy Spirit will transform the lives of these Apostles. These frightened men who abandoned Jesus at his Passion will be transformed into bold witnesses who clearly show that they not only understand the teaching of Jesus but also are willing to put his teaching into practice. They will endure persecution, suffering, ridicule, and other forms of trial as they preach his Good News. They will heed the call of Jesus to go forth and make disciples of all nations.

As mentioned previously, Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has invited us to follow the example of the Apostles and truly embrace the Holy Spirit in our lives. In his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), he stated, “There is no greater freedom than that of allowing oneself to be guided by the Holy Spirit, renouncing the attempt to plan and control everything to the last detail, and instead, letting him enlighten, guide, and direct us, leading us wherever he wills. The Holy Spirit knows well what is needed in every time and place. This is what it means to be mysteriously fruitful.”

As we reflect on these profound words of Pope Francis, and as we celebrate this great feast, we also remember at this time of the year our loved ones and friends who are graduating from various levels of education. Unfortunately, graduation exercises are approached in a very different manner due primarily to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 virus. Most graduation exercises have to be done remotely through some form of online technology. However, we still strive to honor our graduates in a personal way for their accomplishments.

The following “Prayer for Graduates”, provided by www.guideposts.org, the author unknown, asks Our Heavenly Father to guide and bless our loved ones and friends who are graduating:

Heavenly Father,
Surround those who are graduating with Your grace.
Bless them with hope so they move into the future with eager and open hearts.
Help them to put the knowledge, skills, and insights gained through their education to use for the good of all humankind.
Inspire them to believe in the goodness of life even when faced with challenges and difficulties.
As they commence with their lives, may they grow ever more grateful and wise.
All of this we ask in the name of Jesus, your beloved son.  Amen.

We encourage the families and friends of our graduates to take this prayer to heart. And as we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, we are challenged to allow the Holy Spirit to come into our minds, and into our lives, and into our hearts as we strive to cope spiritually in these difficult and uncertain times.

2020 06-07   We Welcome Seminarian Jacob Butz, and Pray For Vocations
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2020 5-24   We Are to Truly Appreciate our Precious Faith and Freedom on this Memorial Day Holiday
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2020 5-24   We Are to Truly Appreciate our Precious Faith and Freedom on this Memorial Day Holiday

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Monday, as a nation, we celebrate Memorial Day.  This federal holiday is celebrated each year in the United States on the last Monday in May.  On this day, we remember in a special way those men and women in the armed forces who have made the supreme sacrifice in defense of our nation.  We pray for the repose of their souls, and for all those who mourn their passing from this world.  They sacrificed their lives and their freedom and helped make it possible for us to enjoy our lives and our freedom.  They were prematurely separated from family members and friends, and a grateful nation pays them homage and respect.

The following prayer written by Hector Molina, @CatholicEvangelist implores our Heavenly Father for guidance on this special day:

Dear Heavenly Father, 

With a sober heart we come before you this Memorial Day.  We pause for a moment and call to mind all the men and women who have died in the service of our nation since 1776.

Dear God, please look with mercy on our brave and selfless brothers and sisters, who did not shirk from their task but gave themselves completely to the cause of defending and protecting us all.  Bless all who have given their lives for the sake of liberty, and grant them eternal rest with You.

We remember also our brave men and women now serving in our armed forces, both at home and abroad.  Dear God, send out Your angels to protect them all.  Help them discharge their duties honorably and well.  Please bring them safely home to their families and loved ones.  Please bring your peace and mercy to our troubled world.

We ask this, Father, in the name of Jesus, your Son.  Amen

As we reflect on this prayer, we are reminded to focus on our Heavenly Father for guidance, and to truly appreciate our precious faith and freedom which we should never take for granted.  This is especially important in these difficult and uncertain times when we have witnessed a dramatic change in the fabric of our society in a very short time due to the devastating impact of the Covid-19 virus.  This change has caused us to view our faith and our freedom in a different light and made us more acutely aware of the reality that there are events and circumstances that are beyond our control.

In addition, on this day, our bishops invite us to make time for prayer.  We can join our brothers and sisters who pray for the repose of the souls of these men and women who have gone before us, and for the consolation of their family members and friends.

 

2020 05-31   We are Challenged to Allow the Holy Spirit to Come into Our Minds, and into Our Lives, and into Our Hearts
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2020 05-17   Pray for Our Bishops, that Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Will Make Prudent Decisions for Our Church
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2020 05-17   Pray for Our Bishops, that Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Will Make Prudent Decisions for Our Church

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

As we know, we are currently in difficult and uncertain times due primarily to the devastating impact of the Covid-19 virus.  Very few could have predicted the drastic changes that have occurred in our society in a very short time.  We recently went from crowded Churches to empty Churches.  Most Church services were suspended throughout the nation and in many parts of the world.  Catholics could no longer attend Mass and receive the Eucharist for an indefinite period.  Many previously scheduled marriages and baptisms were deferred to a later time to be determined.  The faithful found it difficult to avail themselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Some Catholics were disappointed and frustrated primarily with the actions of various diocesan bishops and felt they were unfairly being denied the sacraments.

Canon 843.1 states, “Sacred ministers cannot deny the sacraments to those who seek them at appropriate times, are properly disposed and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.”

Msgr. Charles Pope, writing in the publication “Our Sunday Visitor”, addressed the concerns of those who believed the bishops or civil authorities were denying them access to the sacraments.  He stated, “While it is true that the faithful have a general right to have access to the sacraments, it is not an absolute right.”  For “… grave reason, a bishop can forbid the celebration of Masses in certain areas for a certain time.”

He noted that due to the Covid-19 virus, “Public health authorities have asserted that a serious threat exists to the well-being of others and have decreed that a wide number of activities cease in the meantime, including large public gatherings.”  He went on to indicate that, “It is true that the Church should generally resist attempts by the state to limit our religious liberties but that is not what is happening here.  Government officials did not single out Catholic Masses or religious activities.  Rather they issued norms and later decrees limiting all public gatherings in various ways.”  However, many people expressed their view that these norms and decrees were unreasonable, and in some instances, unfair to religious institutions.

Msgr. Pope urged patience and stated, “We should be sympathetic to both those who have fears about the virus and to those who have sadness at the loss of the celebration of the liturgy publicly.  Some fairness is also due to the bishops who themselves are facing a situation unprecedented in most of their lifetimes.  The varying responses reflect varying local conditions and decrees.”

He reminded the faithful that, “As for denying the sacraments in general, most dioceses have made exceptions.  The faithful who are ill can still be anointed and receive Communion.  Funerals, weddings, and infant baptisms can still take place, though limited in most places to immediate family.”

As we consider the insightful comments of Msgr. Pope, and as civil, commercial, and religious institutions are gradually opened up once again, we are invited to pray for our bishops.  We may pray, that inspired by the Holy Spirit, and giving due consideration to health concerns, they will make prudent decisions that will allow our Catholic faithful to attend Mass and avail themselves of the precious sacraments of our Church for which they so eagerly hunger.

 

2020 5-24   We Are to Truly Appreciate our Precious Faith and Freedom on this Memorial Day Holiday
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2020 05-10   We Honor the Blessed Virgin Mary and all Mothers in a Special Way at This Time. 
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2020 05-10   We Honor the Blessed Virgin Mary and all Mothers in a Special Way at This Time. 

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate Mother’s Day.  We are invited on this day to make a special effort to honor mothers for all they do for their families and for the many sacrifices they make on behalf of their spouses and children.  In addition, we can also thank them for the love they provide in so many ways.

When we think of mothers, we often think of Mary, the mother of Jesus, the spouse of Joseph.  May is the month of Mary, and this month we honor her in a special way.  As previously mentioned, the Church presents Mary as a model of love in its fullness.  The love she had for Jesus and Joseph is not reserved for them alone.  It is the same precious love that she has for us, the same precious love she shares with us, an unselfish love that we should not take for granted.

Mary is not only the Mother of Jesus but also the Mother of our Church.  The Second Vatican Council teaches that “…By her motherly love, she cares for her Son’s sisters and brothers who still journey the earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home.”  In his great encyclical, “Evangelium Vitae” (The Gospel of Life), Pope John Paul II reminds us that Mary is “…the incomparable model of how life should be welcomed and cared for.”

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis also invites us to look to Mary for inspiration.  This need for inspiration is especially important at this time as we continue to strive to cope with the devastating impact of the Covid-19 virus.  In an address, as reported in the publication, “For Your Marriage”, he stated that Mary “saw many difficult moments” and “like a good mother she is close to us, so that we may never lose courage before the adversities of life” and “might feel her support in facing and overcoming the difficulties of our human and Christian journey.”

Pope Francis also noted that Mary provides loving care for us.  He stated, “she helps us grow as human beings, and in the faith, to be strong and never to fall into the temptation of being human beings and Christians in a superficial way, but to live responsibly, to strive even higher.”  As a mother, Mary “teaches us to be, like her, capable of making definitive decisions, definitive choices.”

We are challenged to take the profound words of Pope Francis and Pope John Paul II to heart as

On behalf of our priests, deacons, staff, and parishioners of Saint Brigid, I wish all mothers a happy, healthy, and holy Mother’s Day.

Mary, Our Lady of Fatima, intercede for us.

Mary, Our Mother, pray for us.

 

2020 05-17   Pray for Our Bishops, that Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Will Make Prudent Decisions for Our Church
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2020 05-03   We Are Invited to Keep Archbishop Hartmayer in our Prayers as he Assumes his role as Shepherd of our Archdiocese.
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2020 05-03   We Are Invited to Keep Archbishop Hartmayer in our Prayers as he Assumes his role as Shepherd of our Archdiocese.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Pope Francis recently named Bishop Gregory Hartmayer as the new Archbishop of Atlanta.   He will be installed on May 6th.  Bishop Hartmayer is a Franciscan priest and is currently serving as the Bishop of Savannah.  He is very familiar with certain aspects of the Archdiocese of Atlanta having served as a Pastor here for more than fifteen years, primarily at Saint Philip Benizi Church in Jonesboro.

As reported in the Georgia Bulletin, he looks forward to assuming his new responsibilities, stating that one of his challenges “will be to be available, to be visible, and to visit and to be present to as many of the faith communities, and educational institutions and other institutions, social outreach, and as much as I can I look forward to seeing more and more of Atlanta and what is going on here.”

Bishop Hartmayer joins us in a time of great upheaval in Churches throughout the world due primarily to the impact of the COVID-19 virus.  He stated, “These are difficult times in our society and I think people are looking for something, as they always have, to hold on to that has roots (that) has tradition that has meaning, has depth.   And I think the Catholic Church continues to offer that depth despite our imperfections.”

As a Pastor, Bishop Hartmayer has dealt with difficult times in the past.  In an Easter reflection written many years ago while he was a Pastor, he challenged the faithful to consider the empty tomb of Jesus and how it can impact their lives.  His words are very relevant today as we strive to deal with this time of uncertainty.  He stated, “Sometimes it is easier for us to remain in the tomb, depressed or anxious, no matter how painful.  Sometimes it is just easier to remain in the tomb than it is for us to straighten up or settle down or to do something to help ourselves.”

“God did not make us to lie in a tomb or be burdened by a gloom and doom view of the world.  God is not to be found in the evil that entraps us.  He is found in the love, compassion and forgiveness he raises in the hearts of those men and women whose lives reflect God’s presence in their midst.”  This is, in essence, a message of hope for us to consider.

Bishop Hartmayer is also a strong supporter of Catholic education, having served as a Catholic school teacher, educator, and principal.  He stated, “…my major reason for supporting Catholic schools and giving them the attention I think they need is to ensure that they remain Catholic, and the faith is passed on, in an understandable and practical way.”

As we reflect on the sentiments, experience, and background of Bishop Hartmayer, we are invited to keep him in our prayers as he assumes his role as shepherd of our Archdiocese.

2020 05-10   We Honor the Blessed Virgin Mary and all Mothers in a Special Way at This Time. 
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2020 04-19  Jesus’ Message to Faustina Reminds Us That There is NO Limit to God’s Mercy
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2020 04-19  Jesus’ Message to Faustina Reminds Us That There is NO Limit to God’s Mercy

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Today we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday.  Pope John Paul II, now Saint John Paul II, had a great appreciation for and understanding of mercy.  He stated in one of his papal addresses:  “What is mercy if not the boundless love of God, who confronted with human sin, restrains the sentiment of severe justice and, allowing Himself to be moved by the wretchedness of His creatures, spurs Himself to the total gift of self, in the Son’s cross?  Who can say that he is free from sin and does not need God’s mercy?  As people of this restless time of ours, wavering between the emptiness of self-examination and the humiliation of despair, we have a greater need than ever for a regenerating experience of mercy.”

Today as we focus on the mercy of God, our Church has stated the following about this great feast, as previously noted: “During the Church’s millennium celebration in 2000, Pope John Paul II declared that the Second Sunday of Easter be known as “Divine Mercy Sunday”.  Prior to this celebration, the Pope also wrote a profound encyclical called “Rich in Mercy”.  This encyclical explained the doctrinal and scriptural foundations for our understanding of mercy.  Our Holy Father looked to a holy woman of Poland, Sr. Faustina, for inspiration.  He canonized Sr. Faustina at that same Mass in 2000 at which he instituted the observance of Divine Mercy Sunday.

He also clearly articulated the essential message that Jesus gave to Sr. Faustina and the message is that the graces of His mercy are greater than the stains of our sins.”

In these difficult and uncertain times, we are challenged to truly appreciate this day and reflect a spirit of mercy, repentance and reconciliation in our lives.  Jesus’ message to Faustina reminds us that there is no limit to the Lord’s mercy for those who truly believe, for those who humbly ask for forgiveness.

The following prayer provided by “Catholic Online” reflects the depth of the mercy that God extends to us:

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible,

look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent,

but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.  Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, and on the words of Our Holy Father, we invite our parishioners and friends to embrace the generous gift of God’s mercy in a humble spirit of thanksgiving.

                           

 

2020 05-03   We Are Invited to Keep Archbishop Hartmayer in our Prayers as he Assumes his role as Shepherd of our Archdiocese.
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2020 04-05  Our Lord is Risen!  Let us Rejoice and be Glad. Alleluia.
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2020 04-05  Our Lord is Risen!  Let us Rejoice and be Glad. Alleluia.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Today, Easter Sunday, we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.  The suffering of the cross gives way to the glory of the Resurrection.  Just as we share in the suffering of Christ in this life, we hope to one day share in his glory. Through his Resurrection, Jesus has conquered sin and death.  This is the message of his Good News.  This is the message of Easter, and Pope Francis invites us to embrace this message.

In a recent address, as reported in the media outlet “Catholic News Agency”, Our Holy Father stated, “Christ is alive and he remains with us.  Risen, he shows us the light of his face, and he does not abandon all those experiencing hardship, pain and sorrow.  Yet Easter is also the beginning of the new world, set free from the slavery of sin and death: the world open at last to the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom of love, peace and fraternity.”

He added, “May the Risen Christ, who flung open the doors of the tomb, open our hearts to the needs of the disadvantaged, the vulnerable, the poor, the unemployed, the marginalized, and all those who knock at our door in search of bread, refuge, and the recognition of their dignity.”  As Christians, we are challenged to take the words of Our Holy Father to heart.

As we know, due to the impact of the coronavirus, we continue to struggle and sacrifice.  And so, we cannot come together at this time to worship as a faith community.  However, we still welcome all to our vibrant Parish community.  We especially welcome those who participate in our Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) and Rite of Christian Initiation for Children (RCIC) programs as they continue to grow in their knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith.

We also welcome all those who do not attend our Church on a regular basis.  When the situation concerning the coronavirus stabilizes, we hope that you will choose to become more fully involved in our community of faith and to get spiritually closer to the Lord and trust in him. We invite you to join with us as we strive to embrace and truly live the faith we boldly proclaim.

As we celebrate this special day, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all who serve our faith community.  On behalf of our priests, deacons and staff, I wish you and your families a holy, happy and healthy Easter season.

Our Lord is risen!  Let us rejoice and be glad.

2020 04-19  Jesus’ Message to Faustina Reminds Us That There is NO Limit to God’s Mercy
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2020 04-05   The Holiest Week of the Church Year
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